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March 2012: Spring Ahead With Comedian Erica Watson


March 2012: Spring Ahead With Comedian Erica Watson

We’re heartbroken over the passing of our sister Erica Watson. This interview is from 2012. It’s the first of many features on the talented actress and comedian.

If you follow Erica Watson on Twitter or on Facebook you know that her love for comedy and her curvy sisters go hand in hand. For every funny bone in her body, she displays an equal amount of love towards the plus-size movement. Through her 1 woman show “Fat Bitch”, Erica has successfully created a platform for America to take an honest look at their obsession with weight while discussing her life as a Black woman.

Why and how did you get into comedy?

EW:  Well, I’ve always been naturally funny. But, I did not really decide to take comedy seriously as a career until 2005. I moved to NYC from Chicago to pursue a career in directing film/tv. A friend of mine suggested that I take a stand-up comedy writing class and do comedy as a “side-hustle” while I saved money for my film projects. The next thing I know, I’m hosting shows and traveling around the country performing at colleges and special events. It’s a lot of fun!

Who are your inspirations in the world of comedy?

EW: I love Whoopi Goldberg, Sandra Bernhardt, Chris Rock, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor …..and so many others. Too many to name!

When you’re not performing, what keeps you busy?

EW: I love spending time with my close friends, and my family. I am totally addicted to my little niece and nephew, so anytime I can spend hanging out with them is a pure blessing. I’m into movies and books. I love books. I can stay in a library or bookstore for hours. I also love to swim.

What makes you laugh hard?

EW: I love funny people in crazy, hard-to-believe situations. The funniest things to me are honest situations. Truth is always funnier than fiction.

Was it difficult breaking into comedy living in Chicago?

EW: It’s difficult to break into comedy no matter where you live. When I lived in Chicago, being a comic was the last thing on my mind. I went to film school, and after that went to get a Master’s degree in Media Management. So, my goal was to be behind the scenes. Although breaking into comedy has been difficult, it’s also been a very rewarding experience. I am loving every minute of it!

What’s the best and worst part of growing up in Chicago?

EW: Chicago is a beautiful city. The people are beautiful, the landscape is beautiful..there is no other city like it. It’s a big city, full of people will small-town values. I love everything from the cold winters, the hot summers, the beautiful beaches…..and the FOOD! Chicago has the best food! But, I am also very sad about the amount of youth gang violence that has been going on in the city. It’s heartbreaking.

What do you feel is the most important aspect of stand-up comedy?

EW: I like to make sure that I talk about things that are important to me. If you talk about your passions, then the audience will really get to know who you are. From time to time, I will speak about general topics that are fun for everyone, but for the most part, I really like to speak about my life, in a very personal way.

How did you come up with the one-woman show “Fat Bitch”? How long did it take you?

EW: I wanted to talk about my experiences as a plus-sized black woman, and speak about my thoughts on America’s obsession with weight….but I did not feel that a typical stand-up comedy set would do it justice. I wrote the show so that I could really express my thoughts, without the constraints of a typical comedy club setting. I started workshopping the show in the Fall of 2008, and here we are! I think all of us, no matter what we look like, can relate to a show like mine, because it deals with stereotypes. I talk about very controversial subjects like images of plus-sized black women in the media, to the way our bodies affect our self-esteem and sexual behavior. We all deal with those issues whether we are big or small.

What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve had with a fan?

EW: I had a guy that was upset about something I said on stage at a comedy club, so he decided to make a “myspace” page about how much he hated me. Then, he had the nerve to add me as a friend, and like a dummy, I accepted him! Lol! It was crazy!

What’s your overall goal as a comedian?

EW: I ultimately want to write, direct and produce projects that give women of all races the opportunity to play roles that are fun, balanced, and show the truth of living life as a woman! I also want to continue to perform Fat Bitch! around the world, and encourage everyone to love themselves, no matter what size they are.

What other projects are you working on?

EW: Right now I am starring in the off-broadway hit show “Love, Love and What I Wore” in NYC until March 25th. It is an awesome show, and I am so blessed to be a part of the production. Here is the info to get reduced tickets to see the show!

Photo Credits
Photographer: Beatrice LeBarge
Retoucher: Eve Harlowe
Hair: Hadiiya Barbel
Dress: Jessica London
Belt and Bracelets: Torrid

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